This is a wedding with a lot of personality and thoughtful touches. A real family affair where everyone came together to give Katie and Matthew the perfect wedding party.
Katie and Matthew married on the 5th October 2013, with a church ceremony followed by a barn reception. They wanted their wedding to be relaxed and fun, with a royal street party feel.
They home made so much of their wedding day, from hand picked wild flowers for the wedding tables to the fab decorations and jam favours. There was so much style too, with Katie donning a chic Justin Alexander dress with bountiful hydrangea bouquet, while the bridesmaids wore navy jumpsuits. Fabulous.
Thanks so so much to the utterly brilliant Gemma Williams for sharing her images with us.
The Proposal… He caught me off guard at my parent’s house one day. He came back from a walk with my dad and our family dog and asked me then. It was lovely because we were able to celebrate that night with friends and family.
The Vision for the Day… It was important for me to get married in my local church where I had gone growing up. It is a lovely little country church and holds many precious memories. Other than that we just wanted it to be a relaxed day and for everyone to have loads of fun!
The Planning Process… I had all my friends to help me!! We didn’t begin planning for a while – we wanted to enjoy the engagement for a few months and had an awesome couple of parties! We got married about 18 months after we got engaged and because we made everything ourselves, we really needed that long. Most of the planning was done by myself and my trusted bridesmaids and very talented friends. I was so lucky and enjoyed it all so much – was great to spend so much time with my favourite people.
Budget… £10,000 but worked out to be around £12,000 we think! We had 138 people to the day and over 250 people at night!
The Venue… Little Birch Church – a very cute village church. Then a barn at my parents house – named the Wed Shed (my friend made huge bunting to put across the top of the barn saying wed shed – it was fab!)
The Dress + Accessories… Justin Alexander ballerina length lace and tulle dress. Jenny Packham peep toe shoes. Should length veil and pearl tiara.
Finding the Dress… I first tried dresses on at the national wedding show at the NEC which I went to with my mum. I knew I wanted a shorter dress but went off them after trying on some that didn’t suit me. I then went to the lovely Lilly Oliver in Hereford and tried on some stunning fish tail dress but soon found my perfect dress at High Society in Cowbridge. My mum and dad came with me and we all knew it was ‘The One’ as soon as I stepped out of the dressing room. I didn’t want to take it off! It was the perfect length and style and I felt a million dollars in it. It was classic but a fun style also. I loved spinning round the dressing room in it.
Groom’s Attire… My husband is the Armed Forces and wore his number 1s uniform. We had a military wedding and the best man and some of the groomsmen wore their mess dress. We also had a guard of honour who were in full mess dress – it looked great on the day. Matt’s friend Len was master of ceremony for the day and did such a fantastic job. The guys all looked so amazing!
The Readings + Music… We chose two people to do readings, my friend Clare Alford and a family friend Mr Bryant, and they chose their own readings which was lovely and on the day was such a wonderful surprise.
Music wise we had three hymns including Jerusalem and Shine Jesus Shine. We had William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Craig Armstrong playing whilst we signed the register. It was very romantic and lots of people were tearful!
Beautiful Bridesmaids… I had ten bridesmaids!!! My best friend from school Samantha Ellaby was my Matron of Honour, Laura Soboscinski, Ella Bateman and Nicki Corner were my adult bridesmaids and they all wore navy jumpsuits from Phase Eight with red stilettos! I then had my four cousins Emily, Victoria and Lucy Mince and Daisy Turner. Emily and Victoria wore strapless navy dresses with red pumps and ivory pashminas. Daisy and Lucy wore ivory tulle dresses (which mimicked my own dress) with red converse high tops. The two youngest who were flower girls, Ella and Amy, our nieces, were only 3 years old and wore the same dresses as Daisy and Lucy and high tops also. They looked adorable!
The Flowers… I had a huge bouquet of ivory hydrangeas – I absolutely loved it!! The flower girls all had gypsophila bouquets and gypsophila hair pieces. The older ones had their hair in a roll at the back with the flowers in the top and the two middle ones had flowers in the side of their hair. The 4 younger ones had gypsophila garlands.
On the tables we had collected glass bottles and jars and put wild flowers in. my bridesmaids spent ages doing this the day before the wedding whilst I was getting pampered – they are the best friends anyone could ask for!
The Cake… We had two cakes…… one made by auntie – sponge cake with rabbit bride and groom Sylvanian families and bunting which was made using the same material we used to make the bunting for the barn. This was cut at night with the sword carried by my husband just before we did the first dance.
The second cake was a cheese cake! We chose several types of cheese from our local cheese shop and stacked the rounds of cheese to make it look like a wedding cake!! We served this after the afternoon tea with port – it was such a hit with the guests.
Your Photographer… Gemma Williams – absolutely fabulous!!! We wanted someone to capture the day and we really wanted natural photos. We could not be more pleased with the outcome there is not one photo we don’t like and we are amazed at how much she managed to capture, we didn’t even know she was there half the time! She pictured all of our guests and everyone is smiling and laughing in the photos – it was so lovely for us to see that everyone had such an amazing time on our special day.
The Details + Decor… It took me ages to decide on colours and themes for the wedding but everything slowly started to come together and I was so very happy with the outcome. When we got engaged we looked for local venues to hold the reception but my dad then came up with the idea of the barn. He was planning to rebuild an old barn and thought this would be the opportunity to get on with it. I was a bit dubious to begin with but then realised it was a blank canvas for us to do exactly as we pleased. It was great watching the barn being built and seeing the progress.
We knew that we didn’t want to have a formal sit down dinner and I loved the idea of having an afternoon tea. Something informal but I knew it would look so pretty and wanted to hire vintage china and tableware. My auntie and her husband who run the vintage tea shop in Hereford offered to do the catering for us, they had not done a wedding previously but we were overjoyed with the outcome on the day. It really was perfect. We had finger sandwiches, cakes and scones with jam and butter. My nan and I made the jam ourselves and put it into tinny jars a local hotel had saved for me. I used material in our wedding colours of navy and red to make tops for the jam and tidied twine around them and a label with each person’s name on it. We had vintage crockery, cake stands, tea sets etc – it was so beautiful. We borrowed the long tables from the local village hall and borrowed enough chairs for everyone so these were mix-matched!! We bought rolls of hessian and used that to make table clothes.
All of the decorations were homemade. Myself and my friends spent months and months making everything. I could not believe the help I received and we all really had the best time spending time together making everything. We made the invitations, bunting, table plans, place names etc!!
Seeing as my husband wanted to wear uniform and I wanted a tea party, a theme slowly came together and it ended up being a royal street party. Everything was reds and blues. The transformation of the tin barn once all of the bunting was hung and the tables were laid. We also put hundreds of jams jars, which friends and family had saved for us, and my friends had decorated, around the barn with tealights in – they really did look superb.
Its so hard to explain all of the little details – but so much thought and detail went into everything and everything was homemade. I have extremely talented friends who I will be eternally grateful to for helping with everything and especially, Claire Bushnell, Laura Read and Zoe New along with my fabulous bridesmaids who worked so hard to make everything perfect.
One of my very close friends Sarah Jane Jones did my hair which I totally loved, she also did some of the bridesmaids whilst Nicki and one of my other friends Jocelyn Mayo-Evans helped out. They all looked so stunning.
The manager of Mac Make Up in Cardiff travelled up to our make up for the day and she really did such an amazing job on myself, my mum and my older bridesmaids. On the morning of the wedding I had the perfect gift from my hubby, some beautiful diamond earrings and a pearl bracelet from my parents. It was such an amazing morning spending time with all my bridesmaids and my mum getting ready and relaxing. We didn’t get married until 2pm so we had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves and no rush.
My dad and I travelled to the church in a beautiful cart pulled by two white horses, it was perfect and I felt like such a princess. The bridesmaids and my mum were able to travel together in a white Landrover which seated 11 people!! It used to belong to Royal Family.
The church service was absolutely beautiful and the church had been decorated by mum and her friend Mandy with beautiful wild flower. It was the best feeling in the world walking into that church to see my husband to be, all of our grooms men and all of our amazing friends and family.
My husband had two best men, his brother Chris who wore army uniform and his best friend Dan who wore his fireman uniform. My brother Joe, who was an Usher and Chris were our witnesses for the register. It was lovely to involve our brothers in that way. Everyone did so much to help with the day. The day before the wedding my brother and Dan amongst many others were at the house helping to set everything out.
My grandparents also played a big part in the day and my nan planted up hundreds of mini terracotta pots with plants in which were dotted around the barn. My granddad also made a huge red postbox for everyone to put their cards in. it was perfect and we were so happy with it.
When we returned to the house we had welcome drinks on the lawn. It was so lovely to have the reception at home, it felt so right to be there. We had a welcome tent and my friend Laura had made huge bunting with the words welcome on it. We had saved hundreds of jars and washed them and put twine around them and used them for the welcome drinks with paper straws with blue and red stripes on. We used pimms or pink lemonade for the welcome drinks and there were plenty of them to get the party started. We had an old fashioned grammar phone playing whilst the welcome drinks took place. Canapés were served which included smoked salmon belinis.
We then had the tea party followed by cheese and port and then champagne and the speeches. They were fabulous!!!
After the tea party the guests made their way outside where there was a barn and seating area on the lawn - It was such a lovely warm evening! I threw my bouquet and one of my good friends Louise Freddi caught it!! Cant wait for their announcement now!
The evening was so much fun – the wed shed was cleared out of most of the tables and chairs and we had an amazing band known as The Renditions who played until gone 1am. Everyone partied hard all night.
The food for the evening was a fish and chip van which really went down a treat with everyone!
The Honeymoon… We went to Jamaica – Negril – it was absolutely perfect. So tropical, very hot and lots and lots of fun!!! Had the best time ever! We didn’t book it until the Monday after the wedding and went the following Saturday.
Memorable Moments… The horse and cart ride, both to the church with my dad and back to the reception with Matt. It was the perfect opportunity for us to take in the service and we were so lucky with it being such a beautiful day. It was very nostalgic for me riding through the village I had grown up with my new husband and looking forward to our life together. Lots of people came out of their houses to watch and wave, it really was so lovely.
Our first dance – we danced to At Last by Etta James. It was perfect song and I loved dancing in my dress!
Being on the dancefloor with my bridesmaids and best friends all night – I changed out of my incredibly high Jenny Packham shoes into my sparkly black Vans and frilly socks which had all been bought for my hen do in Ibiza.
The whole day was perfect!! I could go on all day…..
Advice for Other Couples… I know everyone says this but stop to take the day in. I did and I can remember almost everything.
Don’t feel that you have to conform to traditions – we had such a mixture of tradition and then things that we just wanted to do and we were so happy with the outcome.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Dress | High Society Cowbridge
Flowers | Hibiscus Rooms Hereford
Crockery | The Vintage Crockery Hire
Catering | Miffy & Asanga – Vintage Tea Rooms Hereford
Fish and chip | Ewyas Harold Herefordshire
Photographer | Gemma Williams
Bar | All Barredup Ross on Wye
Wow wow wow. Didn’t the barn look amazing?!
Thanks so much to Katie and Matthew for sharing all about their wedding on WWW XOXO Lou
Tags: Afternoon Tea, Barn Wedding, Blue Wedding Ideas, DIY Wedding, Gemma Williams Photography, Horse & Carriage Wedding Transport, Hydrangea Bouquet, Jump Suit Bridesmaids, Justin Alexander Wedding Dress, Military Groom, Navy Bridesmaid Dresses, Phase Eight Bridesmaids, Real Weddings, Red Wedding Ideas, White Wedding Ideas, Wildflowers